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Distracted Driving

Woman using cell phone while driving car.

Distracted Driving

Go Hands-Free. Just Drive. It's the Law. 

New distracted driving law now in effect:

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed into law a bill making it illegal to manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle on Michigan roads. Under the law, a driver cannot hold or support a phone or other device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders.

Even if a cell phone or other device is mounted on your dashboard or connected to your vehicle’s built-in system, you cannot use your hands to operate it beyond a single touch.

As a result, you cannot manually do any of the following on a cell phone or other electronic device while driving.

  • Make or answer a telephone or video call.
  • Send or read a text or email message.
  • Watch, record, or send a video.
  • Access, read, or post to social media.
  • Browse or use the Internet.
  • Enter information into GPS or a navigation system.

The law makes holding or manually using a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle a primary offense—which means an officer can stop and ticket drivers for this violation.

The hands-free law took effect on June 30, 2023.

Learn what you can and cannot do behind the wheel.

June 2023: Hands-free law


1st violation
    $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service.

2nd or subsequent violations
    $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.

3 violations within a 3-year period
    Complete a driving-improvement course.

Fines doubled
    If a traffic crash occurs and the at-fault driver was holding or manually using a mobile device while operating the vehicle, any civil fines will be doubled.


Can I use my device while I am stopped at a light or in traffic?
You cannot hold or manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device at any time while operating a vehicle. Operation includes being stopped at a light or in traffic but does not include being legally parked.

My phone is mounted on my dashboard, so I’m hands-free. Can I send a text?
You cannot use your hands to operate a cell phone or other device beyond a single touch, even if it is mounted. Use voice-activated commands instead.

Can I use Bluetooth or my vehicle’s built-in system?
You can use hands-free technology such as Bluetooth or integrated systems within the vehicle as long as you do not manually use the system. Anything more than a single touch is against the law.

What if I see a crash or have an emergency?
You can use a cell phone to call or text 911 to report an emergency or seek help.

When does this law take effect?
Beginning June 30, 2023, police began issuing citations for violating this law.


Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver's eyes away from the roadway should always be avoided.

As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving. For a first offense, motorists are fined $100. Subsequent offenses cost $200.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive - taking your mind off the drive

Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three types of distraction.

Distracting activities include:

  • Texting or messaging
  • Checking social media
  • Talking on the phone, even hands-free
  • Watching videos
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Grooming
  • Looking after children or pets
  • Chatting with passengers
  • Searching or reaching for an item
  • Looking at crashes or roadside sights
  • Checking a navigation system
  • Reading anything, including maps
  • Adjusting climate or music controls
  • Listening to loud music

How not to be distracted:

  • Use your phone's Do Not Disturb feature or an app to silence calls and texts.
  • Put your phone in the glove box or elsewhere to curb the urge to look at it.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking while driving.
  • Never attempt to read while driving, including a map.
  • Do not do any personal grooming or adjust your clothing while driving.
  • Avoid a lot of interaction with passengers.
  • Emotions can interfere with driving. Do not drive when you are angry or upset.
  • Keep music at a reasonable level, and avoid using headphones or earbuds.
  • Pull over to a safe location and park your vehicle if you need to make or take a call.
  • Do not drive with a pet on your lap.
  • Ask a passenger to help navigate, change the music, or monitor your texts.
  • Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children.
  • Do not daydream when you are behind the wheel.

Related Links

Kelsey's Law Video

Distracted Driving brochure

Technology Resources for Safe Driving

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Safety Council 

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Eyes Drive - Awareness Behind the Wheel

Resources for Law Enforcement Agencies:

   Distracted Driving Fact Sheet - April 2023
   Sample Local Press Release Template - April 2023
   Sample Social Media Posts - April 2023
   "Worth Dying For" video
   "Sam Howell" video

Resources for Schools:
Distracted Driving High School Fact Sheet - April 2023
    Sample School Social Media Posts - April 2023
    "Worth Dying For" video
   "Sam Howell" video